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COVID-19: MCCY advisory on religious activities

26 March 2020 / 10:00 AM - Tighter safe distancing measures for religious activities to minimise further spread of COVID-19

For religious leaders

  1. The global COVID-19 situation is rapidly escalating. Many countries are reporting steep increases in infections and have imposed total lockdowns as their healthcare institutions are overwhelmed and community health compromised. While Singapore has implemented tighter border controls and stricter safe distancing measures, new COVID-19 infections continue to occur. We need to act decisively to reduce the risks of new clusters emerging rapidly, and severely disrupting our economy and endangering lives.
  2. On 24 Mar 2020, MOH advised that all gatherings outside of work and school will be limited to 10 persons or less with effect from 26 Mar 2020, 2359 hrs to 30 Apr 2020. This restriction may be extended if the domestic and global situations do not improve.

    Restrictions on faith-based activities

  3. Based on the 24 Mar MOH advisory on tighter measures to minimise further spread of COVID-19, all congregational worship and religious services will be suspended from 26 Mar 2020, 2359 hrs to 30 Apr 2020.
  4. During this period, places of worship may remain open for essential rites (e.g. weddings and funerals) and private worship, subject to a cap of 10 persons at any one time and with the precautionary measures listed in the Annex. Much as we understand the desire of friends and acquaintances to pay their last respects and give comfort to families in their grief, we ask religious leaders to advise their followers on the need to minimise physical interactions even during funerals and wakes.
  5. If necessary, non-congregational activities involving 10 or fewer people (e.g. religious classes, cell group meetings) may be held with the precautionary measures in the Annex. Religious leaders should advise their followers to adhere to similar measures, even if such activities are not held on the premises of the religious organisation.
  6. The limit of 10 persons at any one time does not apply in workplace situations in places of worship where religious and administrative staff/volunteers are performing their duties (e.g. providing pastoral services, setting up live streams of religious services). However, the number of workers involved should be kept to a minimum and limited to essential duties. Those who can telecommute from home should do so. They must also adhere to the precautionary measures listed in the Annex as well as MOM’s workplace advisory.

    Full implementation of measures

  7. Religious organisations are to fully implement the safe distancing and other precautionary measures in the MCCY, MOH and MOM advisories with immediate effect. MOH will be promulgating the necessary regulations under the Infectious Diseases Act to legally enforce the safe distancing measures. Persons and organisations who do not comply will face stiff penalties.1

    Social responsibility is key

  8. Keeping Singapore safe from COVID-19 requires a whole-of-society-effort and everyone must play their part to behave responsibly in their religious and social interactions. This limited suspension of religious services, along with other social gatherings, are necessary to stem the tide of COVID-19 infections in Singapore.  Human lives are at stake. We understand these measures are disruptive and will entail adjustments to religious practices. We encourage religious leaders to explore alternative means to support the religious needs of their communities such as teleconferencing, e-learning and live streaming worship services.

  9. We appreciate the continued support and commitment of our religious leaders. We must continue to work together to ensure Singaporeans practise their religious life in a safe and socially responsible manner.

Issued by:
Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth
26 March 2020

For queries, please contact MCCY’s Community Relations and Engagement Division at cpro@mccy.gov.sg.

 

1 Offenders will face a fine of less than $10,000 or imprisonment of less than 6 months or both. In addition, existing levers under the Infectious Diseases Act, including the temporary suspension of operations, may be used against errant persons and operators.

 

Last updated on 05 April 2020